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What are the biggest reasons to update your estate plan?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2022 | Probate & Estate Planning |

Nobody likes to acknowledge that they’ll be gone someday, but it’s crucial to face reality. This means creating an estate plan to leave assets to your Pennsylvania family and other beneficiaries. These situations warrant updating your documents.

Marriage or remarriage

Update your estate plan after getting married or remarrying. You may want to leave the bulk of your property and assets to your new spouse, so you should name him or her in your will and as a beneficiary in financial accounts like retirement plans, life insurance policy and mutual funds. If it’s your second or third marriage, update all estate planning documents to remove your former spouse and add your current spouse. Powers of attorney and any end-of-life planning documents should also reflect your current marital situation. If you have some agreement with a former spouse to take care of him or her in some way, or if you just want to be nice and leave a bequest to the former spouse, it must be spelled out carefully in the documents.

A new child

The birth or adoption of a new child is another situation which requires updating estate planning documents. You can name a guardian in your will to care for your children if you pass away while they’re still minors. It’s also wise to name a trustee to manage assets you leave to your children if they’re very young after you’re gone; they won’t be able to get their inheritance until they reach the age of majority or later, so an adult must manage a trust or other account like a Uniform Transfers to Minors Account (UTMA) in their names.

Divorce or death of your spouse

Divorce is a common reason to update your legal documents. You don’t want to accidentally leave anything to your former spouse. Focus on your will and beneficiary designations, dissolve a trust you have in their name and open a new one if you wish.

If your spouse dies before you, you’ll probably find it best to update your estate planning documents. If you intended to leave your financial accounts to your spouse, you may have to choose someone else. Add a contingent beneficiary to be safe.

As life changes, so should your estate plan. It will protect your family’s future. Schedule an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney today.